Qatar’s cost of living declines in May as prices of many items slashed during Ramadan

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Qatar’s cost of living, based on consumer price index (CPI), was on the decline in May 2019, both year-on-year and month-on-month, as prices for as many as 500 items were reduced in view of Ramadan.
The country witnessed a 0.66% and 0.56% decline in inflation on yearly and monthly basis respectively, the figures released by the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA) show.
Highlighting that headline inflation remained subdued in 2018; the International Monetary Fund, in its latest Article IV consultation with Qatar, said inflation is projected to peak at 3.7% in 2020 with the introduction of a value added tax, but converge to 2% in the medium term.
Food and beverages, which has a weightage of 12.58% in the CPI basket, witnessed a 2.13% plunge month-on-month and 1.29% year-on-year in May this year.
In view of Ramadan, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in co-operation with major shopping malls, had undertaken an initiative to offer discount prices that covered basic commodities consumed.
The index of Recreation and Culture, which have 12.68% weightage in the CPI basket, plummeted 3.24% month-on-month and 7.26% on a yearly basis this May.
The index of Clothing and Footwear, which has 5.11% in the CPI basket, shrank 2.36% on a monthly basis but witnessed a 0.61% jump year-on-year in May 2019.
The index of Housing, water, electricity and other fuels — with a weightage of 21.89% in the CPI basket — saw a 0.56% and 2.18% decline month-on-month and year-on-year respectively in May 2019.
The CPI of May 2019 excluding “housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels showed a decrease of 0.56% and 0.23% on monthly and yearly basis respectively.
Miscellaneous Goods and Services, which have 5.69% weightage, saw its index fall 0.16% and 0.88% on monthly and yearly basis respectively in May this year.
The index of Restaurants and Hotels, which have 6.08% weightage, was down 0.1% on monthly basis but witnessed a 0.35% jump on yearly basis in may this year.
However, the Transport, which has 14.59% weightage, saw its group index surge 1.82% and 1.56% on monthly and yearly basis respectively this May. The sector has the direct linkage to the dismantling of administered prices in petrol and diesel, which have witnessed increases in the recent past as part of lessening the subsidies.
In the case of Furniture and household equipment, which have 7.7% weightage in the CPI basket, there was a 0.04% rise in its index on a monthly basis but saw a substantial 1.77% growth compared with May 2018.
Communication, which carries 5.87% weightage, saw its group index remain unchanged month-on-month; whereas it witnessed a 10.45% plunge year-on-year this May.
The index of health, which carries 1.79% weightage, was also flat on a monthly basis whereas it grew 0.83% on yearly basis in May 2019.
Education, with 5.75% weightage, saw its index tread a flat course month-on-month; but overall it had registered a 9.25% increase year-on-year in May this year.
The index of Tobacco, which has 0.27% weightage, was flat on a monthly basis but had more than doubled with the government substantially hiking excise tax on cigarettes from January this year.

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